Albemarle County Planning Commission

April 24, 2007


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and public hearing on Tuesday, April 24, 2007, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Bill Edgerton, Jon Cannon, Duane Zobrist, Calvin Morris, Vice-Chairman and Marcia Joseph, Chairman. Eric Strucko and Pete Craddock were absent. Julia Monteith, AICP, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia was absent. 


Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Planning Director; David Benish, Chief of Planning; Pat Lawrence, Planner; David E. Pennock, Principal Planner; Allan Schuck, County Engineer; Rebecca Ragsdale, Senior Planner; John Shepherd, Chief of Current Development and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Ms. Joseph called the meeting order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.


Other Matters Not Listed on the Agenda from the Public:


Ms. Joseph invited comment from the public on other matters not listed on the agenda.  Neil Williamson has to leave early and wants to speak to an item that is on the agenda.  The Commission has given him permission to do so.


Mr. Williamson, Executive Director of the Free Enterprise Forum, thanked the Commission for allowing him to speak on the CPA with regard to the growth management policy update. He distributed the March 2, 2005 Board of Supervisors minutes noting the following.  (Attachment A – March 2, 2005 Board of Supervisors Minutes)


·         The Board discussed the priorities in the Rural Areas at some length on March 2, 2005.  He thought that discussion would prove helpful in the Commission’s working to make all of the chapters agree with regard to the priorities of uses within the Rural Area.  They contacted the Farm Bureau earlier this week.  The Farm Bureau had seen the newspaper article, but had not been contacted with regard to this particular CPA.  The Free Enterprise Forum, the Farm Bureau, members of the Chamber of Commerce, Tom Olivia and the Piedmont Environmental Council all served on a Rural Areas Focus Group that worked for about 2 years on the Rural Areas Plan.  They are all in favor of maintaining those priorities as they were approved in the Comp Plan.  Since the Commission is working to make everything congruent he just wanted to make sure that the Commission has the language that was used at the Board of Supervisors.


There being no further matters not listed on the agenda from the public, the meeting moved on to the next item.


Public Hearing Item:


CPA 2005-00002, Growth Management Policy Update

Amend the Land Use Plan component of the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan by revising the Growth Management and Public Facilities sections to be consistent with the more-recently adopted Rural Areas component of the Comprehensive Plan. Amendment would change policy identifying agriculture and forestry as priority uses in the Rural Areas to a policy identifying multiple important aspects of the Rural Areas to be protected. A copy of the full text of the proposed plan amendment is on file in the office of the clerk of the Board of Supervisors, and in the Department of Community Development, County Office Building, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.  (Scott Clark)


Mr. Benish summarized the staff report and gave a power point presentation.


·         The Planning Commission had a work session on this item on April 10, 2007.  This is the public hearing to receive public comment on this proposal.  The current Growth Management section of the Land Use Plan was originally adopted in 1996 and refers to 6 elements of the Rural Areas.  It defines the 6 elements of the Rural Areas being agricultural and forestry resources, water supply resources, natural resources, scenic resources, historical and cultural resources and limited services delivery as the defining elements of the Rural Areas and notes that the protection of agricultural and forestry is the highest priority.  That is what is in the current Comprehensive Plan. 


·         On March 2, 2005, the Board of Supervisors adopted a new Rural Areas section of the Comprehensive Plan, which included guiding principles establishing policies regarding the features or elements that make up the Rural Areas.  The new policy refers to 8 features that are recognized as important in defining the principles that make up the Rural Areas.  Those listed are agriculture, forestry resources, land preservation, land conservation, water supply resources, natural resources, scenic resources and historical, archaeological and cultural resources.  In many ways it reflects the same principles and only defines them more specifically. 


·         The emphasis with the adoption of the Rural Areas section was to give implied importance to all of the resources, but not identify any one resource as more important than the other.  So that is the major difference between the current Growth Management Policy adopted in 1996 and the current Rural Areas Policy.  This amendment is to bring the Growth Management Policy consistent with what was adopted in the Rural Areas Section of the Comp Plan in 2005.  The amended language is found in the staff report as Attachment B.  Attachment C is another reference in the Growth Management Policy, which is in the Community Facilities Plan.  The new attachment in the packet is what staff considers as the clean up of the Rural Areas Policy to ensure that there is consistency in the language across all of these amendments.  This is the revised goal for the Growth Management Policy.  There are some changes in the text that modify the language.  The Community Facilities Plan references the new Growth Management Policy as would be adopted here. 


There being no questions for staff, Ms. Joseph opened the public hearing and invited public comment.


Joseph Jones, a resident of western Albemarle County and current President of the County Farm Bureau, was present.  Mr. Benish mentioned eight resources that they have in the County.  The Board agreed that agriculture and forestry should have a primary emphasis in the Rural Areas when they adopted the Rural Areas Comprehensive Plan.  That was pointed out by Neil Williamson earlier this evening under other matters not listed on the agenda. (See Minutes above) He asked staff to make sure that primary emphasis be carried through in the language in the Growth Management Policy Update.  Otherwise, he did not have any objections to what is being proposed here. 


Mr. Morris asked if he agreed with number 1 and 2 as far as giving it the proper place that he feels that it belongs.


Mr. Jones replied that the language said that by agricultural and forestry being the primary uses the other uses are enhanced or facilitated. If they keep agriculture and forestry as the primary uses, then it will benefit all of the others.


There being no further public comment, the public hearing was closed and the matter before the Commission.


Mr. Edgerton said that he had tried to quickly read Mr. Williamson’s handout.  Although there were several supervisors that were anxious about changing the priority away from it, his read of it was that they did not reach a consensus as Mr. Jones has represented.  He did not think that was an accurate read of what occurred from the Board’s minutes. There was a lot of discussion at the Board level about the complimentary features of all of these items.  Staff has done a remarkable job of coming up with language that captures the importance of all of these elements in the Rural Areas.  He was quite comfortable with what he sees.


Mr. Morris concurred with Mr. Edgerton.


Mr. Zobrist noted that he had received several phone calls today.  If they look back at the language of the guiding principles of the Rural Areas Section of the Comprehensive Plan from the Board, he did not find anything inconsistent with to the other parts of their plan that fall along with the March 2, 2005 discussion.  It is very clear in those minutes that they are to protect Albemarle County’s agricultural land as a resource based on its agriculture industries and relation to its benefits that can move towards the County’s forestry.  It goes down all of the resources.  There is a strong commitment in the County. Supervisor Wyant is very much in accordance with the Rural Areas Section from 2005.  He accepted his assurances that he interpreted this change in the other sections as being consistent with this.


Ms. Joseph felt that everybody’s fear is that if they start eroding the role of agriculture in the Comp Plan then they will start changing the Zoning Ordinance to erode that role.  She did not think that was what this was doing.


Mr. Zobrist felt that it was to the contrary.  He liked the language that Mr. Benish has drafted that says in the guiding principles of the Rural Areas Plan residential development is inconsistent with the protection of those defining principles and it should be prevented where possible.  That is a much stronger word than saying that it is a secondary use.  They had a retreat this past weekend with the Commission in looking at growth in the Rural Areas and they are committed to the idea that anything that they can do to slow down growth in the Rural Areas that they are going to do it. The Commission thinks that is what the Board of Supervisors has given us the mandate to do. They are looking for ways they can keep our County beautiful and rural outside the development areas.  They think that they starting to see some success in seeing the development areas growing and the rural areas slowing down a little bit, or at least they hope so. They are hoping that these types of policies will keep it down and, of course, consistent with by right development.


Mr. Cannon said that depends very much in keeping agricultural and forestry activities healthy and robust.


Motion:  Mr. Morris moved, Mr. Cannon seconded, that CPA-2005-00002, Growth Management Policy Update be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors with the recommendation for adoption.


The motion passed by a vote of 5:0.   (Mr. Strucko and Mr. Craddock were absent.)


Ms. Joseph stated that CPA-2005-0002, Growth Management Policy would go to the Board of Supervisors with a favorable recommendation. 


Mr. Benish noted that this item has not been scheduled for the Board’s agenda yet, but will be set up now that the Commission has taken action.



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